If Heaven had a flavor ... it would be coffee.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Walk Mindfully

I recently read the book A Year by the Sea, - thoughts of an unfinished woman, by Joan Anderson.  In it she writes, "I've promised not to instruct or ask my husband what he is going to do with the rest of his life...I'll listen to his thoughts and ideas but hesitate before offering opinions...Falling into old patterns would only serve to diminish our spiritual growth."  It is a rare person that will live by that philosophy, but how our lives would swell if we did!  It took Joan a year of living by herself on Cape Cod to realize that she could be with her husband and still be selfish enough to take care of her soul.  Too often couples neglect their individual selves - forgetting to nurture what it is in their souls that inspires them and gets them piqued.  For some it can be seeing the dried up paint brushes in the basement, or the dusty guitar in the back of the closet that makes them yearn for other times.  It is important to grant each other space to grow, room to explore new interests, and individual time to have "aha" moments - a moment of clarity, a defining moment where you gain real wisdom - wisdom you can use to change your life.

 Getting entwined with nature is one way to nurture yourself.  Thomas Merton once said, "You can't be neurotic in front of a bunch of trees."  Take a walk in a direction you've never gone before, hike up a hill you've seen for years yet never taken.  Joan says in her book, "Be still and listen to the primitive squawk of birds and breathe, breathe deeply of the moist, clean air and be open to whatever comes your way."

When One is freshly informed, and has a serendipitous experience,
     one's mood is changed, one's heart is changed.  That is why
taking time to see, hear, be present to images and language that
     arise from new experiences have the power to change one
                              from one way to another.

-Women Who Run With The Wolves

Grief is a partner to change.  We feel a loss when change is taking place, whether it's a wanted change, or an unwanted one.  It can bring sadness as we see the past fade behind and we feel the familiar is gone.  With it is fear of the unknown - Will I fail?  Will it hurt?  Will I be okay? We allow too many days to go dull and permit too many parts to go unused.  Each day's adventures can teach us how simple it is to be involved and uplifted by nothing more complicated than the unexpected.  Keep your senses alive by using them - smell the pines, feel the wind, hear the brook, taste the berry. 

It takes strength to acquire independence, and the risk of being estranged from the life you've always known.  Life has it's own laws and we need to be mindful to walk carefully through it so as not to bring it a disservice.  So it should be with those who move in and through our lives.  Dig deep and collect moments, don't sit still.  Life is a work in progress. 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Gastrointestinal Knowledge

As a Christian, I often ask God to lead me in the way in which He wants me to go.  Not that long ago, I was on a path that deep down I knew was not a good one, but I ignored it.  Along the way, I asked God to show me if I should turn elsewhere, asked Him to make it all fall apart if it was not of Him.  The plan continued on as I had hoped, with no disasters indicating that it was wrong.  When the situation was finally in front of me, I suddenly knew I had made a mistake - I had ignored my gut feeling.

The situation got worse before it got better, and I had to suddenly call on a friend to help me get out of it.  I was embarrassed, ashamed, and  disappointed in myself.  I had a visceral emotional reaction to this impending situation and chose to ignore it.  How foolish I was to think God would "okay" something that I knew was not Christian behavior.  How childlike I was to test Him, and ask Him to make the plans fall apart if they were not of Him - I already knew they weren't, and He knew this.  So, I learned my lesson the hard way, and in such a way that I will, without a doubt, listen to my gut in the future, and not try to squirm around it.

 My moral compass leads me. I need to learn to embrace this God-given self defense instinct, and act in accordance with my instinctive feelings about situations.  In the New International Version Bible, It states in James 1:5 -  If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.  This is true when you truly do not know which way to turn.  Pieces of the puzzle will fall into place until the plan is revealed, but at the very onset of my situation I knew it was not honorable and the lessons learned were hard and heavy. 

I continue to learn daily in my walk with Jesus, and looking back through the years of my life, I have found that the toughest times revealed to me a much stronger sense of self, endurance, and patience.  Each time as I emerged on the other side, I was a different person with new insight to share with others, renewed strength that built up my confidence, and humbleness to my Creator for walking with me and showing me gently the error of my ways.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Why's? and How Come's? of Blogging

I had a girlfriend ask me tonight, in email, why I feel the need to blog.  She asked if I was bored.  She also admitted that she did not know much about it.  Here was my reply:

Blogging is really personally satisfying, or it can be for some.  For beginners, start here:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog, even better - check out mine:  http://javatalkme.blogspot.com/  I was actually thinking about this on my way home from work tonight.  Why have I started blogging and what do I like SO much about it?  Well, yes, it does give me something to do besides cook, read, play my guitar, and Facebook (which has become boring for me), and write you emails!  I'm not a tv watcher, I don't have hobbies such as jewelry making or knitting (although there are blogs on these as well), and this I have found to be extreemly enjoyable.  What I like most, about it is the creative side of it.  With FB I liked setting my page up, downloading pictures, and posting a variety of statuses for my readers - such as news items I found interesting, music I found enjoyable from You Tube, inspirational quotes, etc.  After a while I felt there wasn't much to do there besides interact with friends.  I never got into the games.  Then again, it is a social network, what was I expecting?

For me, my blog is a much larger Facebook with so many more options - without the interactions with others, only because I have yet to receive any comments! (someday, I can only hope).  I can post pictures I've taken, and pictures that others take that I admire (giving them credit of course).  I have written poetry since I was in the 4th. grade and continue to do so, and here is a medium in which to share it instead of stuffing it in a box.  I have experiences I want to share - nothing earthshaking by any means, just aphorisms really.  Eventually I'm going to have a recipe section, a section on religion, tips on what to do in preparation for singlehood, how I got healthy, and a variety of anecdotes about my job, etc.  You get the idea?

I used to be a scrapbooker - this for me is a sort of virtual scrapbook.  It was challenging for me to set up, for I'm not computer literate and bought the book Blogging for Dummies, which helps me to use my creative side, as well as answer the stupid questions I don't want to ask anyone!  (I'll share more on that in a later post).

So there you have it - a long answer to a short question, and I'm glad you asked!  Can you tell I'm passionate about this?  My short answer - It's fun.

At the very top of my blog you will see the words "next blog" - click on this to look at other blogs - they consist of everything imaginable.  I can sit and read other's for hours and sometimes do.

Why do you blog?  I'd love to hear from you!

'Till, next time,                                                                                     


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fine Art Photography

Minneapolis and Saint Paul may have their own unique skylines, but the one thing that unites them is the sense of energy…about their shared success and prospects for the future. The Twin Cities are hot – even when the weather isn’t.

My friend who thinks he sucks at life, has a keen eye for photographing it.  Here are some of his shots. 

I'm In The Mood To Dance/Poem

Pulling back the sheets I see your hairy toes
All ten of them, who knows,
Let’s jump in the shower and take a chance
I’m in the mood to dance.

Starting the day with salsa and eggs
Tracing your hands up my legs,
Helping you stumble into your pants
I’m in the mood to dance.

The farmers wink at me at the market
They know I’m the bullseye in your target,
They know my secret of enhance
I’m in the mood to dance.

Twisting your pinky around my thumb
Sharing popsicles, kisses and gum.
Skipping to strains of sweet romance
I’m in the mood to dance.

Ending the day in quiet embrace
Drifting off in pools of lace,
All that's left is a tenacious trance
I'm in the mood to dance.


Tunnel Vision

I have this habit that I'm tiring of.  I've been doing it for a while now, it served it's purpose in the beginning, but lately it's started to feel like a waste of time.  I've muscled my way through giving birth to 3 children without any pain killers, through a major clinical depression, and two divorces.  Surely I can alter this! When I walk in the door after work, I immediately grab the quickest (but healthiest) food I can find, flip open my laptop, and fade away.  It could be two hours, it could be five.  What do I do?  Oh, check Facebook, write an email, maybe stumble for a bit, read some blogs, tweet...  Get the idea?  Sometimes I'll read a little news to throw in some substance, but for the most part I don't know where the time flies, and before I know it's time for bed  It simply doesn't feel good anymore.  I can waste an entire weekend in the same manner, and I have. 

When I first moved to my apartment from a house, to the city from a small town, I was catching my breath.  The past ten years were a whirlwind of stress that even I didn't see the extent of until I was out of it.  Being able to just sit in the quiet with my new laptop was the best money I ever spent on therapy!  Much of my healing took place while reading
Zen blogs, connecting with long lost friends, and developing an online diary.  It served it's purpose, and did me well. Peace and calm came back into my life.  Headaches were gone, sleep restored, but I'm ready for a little structure now.  Just a little.  Too many rules and goals can upset the flow.

I've learned that I need tunnel vision to accomplish some things.  Driving home I often tell myself that when I walk in the door, I will immediately change into workout gear and, well, workout.  If I let my mind go to the relaxation of the cyber world all is lost.  Today is a beautiful day outside and I worked all day inside.  I told myself I would simply take a walk when I got home. I'm not an inactive individual by any means, but I do recognize that I need to move more. I had to keep pulling my thoughts towards that idea, and away from other things.  I had to develop tunnel vision.  Any deviation could sway me elsewhere and I knew it, especially after a day's work.

I kept my focus, moved quickly, got into gear, and hit the pavement.  I grabbed my camera on the way out.  I know I shouldn't beat myself up over this, as many spend their evenings in front of tv - something I've never gotten in the habit of.
I have learned that more often than not we don't accomplish what we want because we set our goals too high.  I told myself I only had to be out for fifteen minutes, and that thought got me out the door.  I headed to the nearby pond and fifteen minutes quickly turned into sixty, and twenty pictures later I was home with my guacamole dip, pita chips, and my laptop.
Grabbing the camera was a good idea as it tuned me in to my surroundings.  I saw a turtle sunbathing atop a rock, geese, chickadees, and an unusual number of steps leading to I don't know where (I'll explore another day). I saw vibrant orange fungus on a stump, blue ribbons around trees, and only one other person.  I believe I know where everyone else was.
It felt good, and hopefully a new routine has been started.  All I need to work on is the tunnel vision and not setting my goals too high. 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Working On His Zen

 I talked with someone today who says he sucks at life.  That’s fine with me, because it gives me good material.  The stories he shares, that obliges me to agree with him are hilarious really – no one could write this stuff, it’s so good.  Here’s what he shared with me today:

I need to work on my zen.  Two weeks ago I built a pondless waterfall and stream in my backyard. The stream had a wider, deeper area as it meandered for the koi.  I wake up three days later to herons eating all of the koi. (at this point, I’m wondering why he slept for three days)  Next day…dog discovers there are some toads between the boulders I had lugged in, and placed meticulously. Dog dug all around them to find said toad and ate it. Result? Dug up stream and a vet bill for the poison excreted by the toad, found out when the dog went into seizures.  Oh, vet bill…$1375.00

Trying to get him to divulge more stories about why he sucks at life, I asked him if he sucked as a dad – thinking I’d get a story about a two year old kid found up on the roof due to a ladder he left out, or something similar.  His response surprised me.  He told me that the other night his son borrowed his truck to take his gal to a drive-in.  He got munchies and pop and put blankets down for padding, pillows - the whole nine yards.  The drive-in was packed full, so they rented a movie instead.  The next night – same thing, but this time he said, “I’ve got an idea!” 

They drove to his dad’s home and got an extension cord, he went to the study and got the dvd player and flatscreen tv and hooked them up outside.  They went to Redbox and rented a movie and watched at their own drive-in from the back of the truck to the sounds of crickets and winking stars. When the neighbors shot off fireworks he said, “See, we even have fireworks, the other place doesn’t have that!”  His gal said it was the best night she’s ever had.  His son is thoughtful, endearing, and warm.  We all should suck so much at life

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Make Mine a Latte

For anyone who knows me relatively well, they know I like my coffee.  Like wine, coffee gets me talking.  I think the warmth eases me into it, the sharing of the common experience, the expectation of light talk - never anything too deep.  That is why it works for interviews, and first dates.

I raised my kids at the same time as Lori, who now lives in England, and we often started our days together over coffee.  I see now that she boasts often of fine wines, but I know deep down nothing replaces the coffee in her day. In college, Eric used to tell me that he refused to patronize the larger coffee shop chains, in favor of the smaller more obscure ones - so they wouldn't disappear.  I too prefer the more out-of-the-way shops, and it's still easy to do after becoming single.

A coffee shop welcomes everyone and christens you family whether you want to be or not.  It's easy to sit in a coffee shop alone, unlike a restaurant.  Coffee drinkers understand the ritual of the cup, the aroma, the sip along with the gaze out the window.  They will know when to leave you alone, and when to engage you.  Like bikers, there's an understanding only we know. 

I like watching videos on siphoning coffee - it's an art much like poetry.  I have cups from all the presidential libraries I've been to, hand-designed cups from my children, and a specific cup set aside for me whenever I visit my mother.  Last Father's Day I sent my dad two white Hotel grade coffee cups with saucers, and he knew why.  They have "thin lips" - which is our preferred style.  To my dismay, last I visited he showed me how even with the thin lips, the cups dribble coffee down the sides.  Like the gravy bowl, I suggested putting a little butter on the edge for preventing this.  We both laughed.  You see, sharing coffee makes laughter easy too.